Now firmly entrenched in the US, my fifteenth and final nation here in the Americas, I tacked north from a hot Tucson as Monsoon season started to roll in. My little green tent, “The Humble Hilton” that has been `with me through thick and thin since rolling out of Manchester 3 years and 35 countries ago is hanging in there by a thread. Unfortunately she was no match for the strong seasonal winds of Arizona and my first night north of Tucson resulted in yet another battle scar on my humble abode.
Patched back together with duct tape, faith and a bit of tubing to reinforce the poles, I pushed on via Lake Roosevelt and up the Mogollon rim staying well east of the madness of Phoenix. Back up to a descent altitude of up and over 2000 m above sea level and pleasantly greeted by the now abundant Ponderosa Pines that emit a scent so strong after the afternoon rains it’s almost intoxicating.
These lofty heights were short lived as I descended down the other side and started to snake through Red Rock Country in and around the gorgeous mountains surrounding Sedona. Always on the hunt to track down the most remote and attractive spots to pitch my tent I was not disappointed with a few gems en route through Arizona.
Climbing out of Oak Creek canyon and once again spoilt by the Ponderosa Pines as I gained altitude and clawed my way back up to over 2000 m. I reached the every cool little town of Flagstaff that sits at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s highest Mountains at3800m above sea level.
With the Grand Canyon now in my sights, the next major natural marker on my expedition and the point at which I would get closure on chapter five, my fifth bight size chunk I was navigating in the Americas. Reaching the south Rim in the Grand Canyon National park to be left nothing less than breathless and humbled by the sheer size and beauty of the canyon. It quickly reaffirms how small we are in the grander scheme of things when confronted by such colossal beauty.
Not satisfied with merely gazing over this gaping canyon, I locked up my bicycle and trekked down into the heart of this natural wonder to dip my toes in the cold, raging Colorado River. Now I had closure on my 5th and penultimate chapter of the Americas leg of the Global Wheeling expedition.
Rolling out of the Grand Canyon National Park buzzing from the 26 km trek on foot, elated but rather drained as it compounded my already fatigued body. Heading back south to pick up the much acclaimed Route 66 which would take me west towards the bright lights of Vegas.
Heading down this historic road littered with groovy old diners and gas stations sporting quintessential Route 66 gear was a very cool part of the trip thus far. Rolling across the Hoover Dam and through Lake Mead National park week 45 grinds to halt here on the outskirts of Vegas as I wait for the blistering heat to dry my hand washed clothes before rolling into the chaos that is Vegas.
After 45 weeks cycling solo through the Americas with 18 621 carbon free km on the dial the amount of pollution saved as a result of this marvelous machine the bicycle is now just shy of` 3 tons!!! 2793 kg.